Rancher’s subdivision denied. Deputies seize diner. 12 business stories to catch up on

Rockies Diner reopens

Paulina Gunderson talks about returning to work at Rockies Diner, 3900 W. Overland Road, Boise. It was closed for three days because its owner, Gunderson's father, had not kept up with unemployment tax payments.
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Paulina Gunderson talks about returning to work at Rockies Diner, 3900 W. Overland Road, Boise. It was closed for three days because its owner, Gunderson's father, had not kept up with unemployment tax payments.

The top 12 Idaho business stories for the week of Jan. 29-Feb. 5:

1. The Boise City Council rejected a Foothills rancher’s request to have 173 acres of his land on Bogus Basin Road annexed so 20 houses could be built there. The rejection of Charlie Gibson’s proposed Shannon Ridge Subdivision followed pleas by residents of the Highlands area for the council to heed Mayor David Bieter’s call to end new Foothills development.

2. Three days after sheriff’s deputies shut down a well-known Boise diner and seized its building for nonpayment of unemployment taxes, the Rockies Diner on Overland Road reopened for business. Owner Petros “Rocky” Paflias said he paid $15,000 to the Idaho Department of Labor and got the agency to sign a release.

Deputies from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office posted this seizure notice when Rockies Diner was shut down on Tuesday. The Overland Road restaurant reopened Friday afternoon after owner Petros “Rocky” Paflias made a $15,000 payment to the Idaho Labor Department for delinquent unemployment taxes. John Sowell

3. A group upset by the sale of the historic Plantation Country Club says it is willing to give the new California owners a chance to prove themselves. The Save Plantation Coalition met last week with the managing partner of owner Glass Creek LLC, which has hired a golf architect to redesign the course and plans to add commercial development along State Street eventually.

Homeowner Pierce Roan worries that a new owner might reduce Plantation Country Club in Garden City to nine holes, or worse, completely remove the golf course and develop the property.

4. Even more Dutch Bros. coffee shops are coming to the Treasure Valley, which has about 20 now. Boise franchise owner Brian Wight says he’s planning to open two more in his territory east of Cloverdale Road.

One of the newest Dutch Bros. coffee shops is this one in Meridian at 37 E. Calderwood Drive.

5. “Boise’s only BBQ lunch buffet”, Big K BBQ Pub Room & Eatery, has opened at 3409 W. Chinden Blvd. in Garden City. Big K’s first storefront was at the now-demolished Rodeway Inn on Curtis Road in Boise. Owner Steve Kubinski moved to Chinden Boulevard in 2015, closed it in fall 2017 and has now returned as the Pub Room.

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Steve Kubinski cooks up racks of ribs - and other barbeque at Big K BBQ at 34th and Chinden. Katherine Jones Statesman file photo

6. Cafe Yumm!, a Eugene-based healthy-food restaurant chain franchised for the past 12 years, has expanded into Southwest Idaho. The Boise area’s newest restaurant opened at 2826 S. Eagle Road in the Bridges at Lakemoor shopping center.

7. A lawyer and developer on the Boise City Council says he will not seek a second four-year term in the November election. Scot Ludwig, the nonpartisan council’s only Republican, said his council work is so time consuming that it has put stress on his full-time law practice.

After initially being denied a green light for his Central Addition project by Boise Planning and Zoning, developer Scot Ludwig gets a nod from the city council if he makes changes to his Downtown plan.

8. Marijuana sales to Idahoans could provide a new economic jolt to Ontario. The expected opening of a dozen or more dispensaries this year is expected by many to turn the city into a magnet for cannabis users.

In November, Ontario repealed its ban on marijuana dispensaries. Is it going to be an economic boom? A surge in Treasure Valley visits?

9. The struggling Idaho Youth Ranch says it is in the middle of a turnaround, with a new leader: Scott Curtis, a social worker known for his leadership of local YMCAs. The nonprofit Youth Ranch had suffered from rapid turnover in its therapy programs and disappointing results from its thrift stores.

Scott Curtis is the new CEO of Idaho Youth Ranch. The nonprofit is focusing on equine therapy at its new ranch near Middleton, before it turns its attention to building a residential facility. Katherine Jones

10. Lea Rainey and Zach Yunker hoped their zero-waste market, the first in Idaho, would open by the end of 2018. That didn’t happen. They’re now aiming for spring. Meanwhile, the building at 3308 W. Chinden Blvd. in Garden City remains empty.

Shoppers at Roots Zero Waste Market will bring their own containers for bulk purchases and fresh produce to eliminate unnecessary plastic. The grocery and cafe in Garden City will occupy a former hookah bar building.

11. New housing developments are proposed on the Boise Bench, in the Barber Valley and in Caldwell, according to the Statesman’s latest weekly development roundup. So are day-care centers in Boise and Meridian, a candy shop in Meridian and more.

12. A bill to boost assessments that Idaho private forest owners pay the state has passed a House committee. The legal cap would double to 20 cents, though the state Lands Department says it will recommend boosting it only to 13 cents for the time being if the bill becomes law.

David Staats is business editor of the Idaho Statesman, which he joined in 2004. He has assigned, edited and reported business, politics, government and other Idaho stories since 2006.Get the top Idaho business stories of the week in a free email every Monday morning. Go here, then press the “Select” button under Idaho Business.